March 16 2014 Latest news:
Paddy Davitt, Norwich City Writer
Saturday, December 21, 2013
Wes Hoolahan’s bit-part role at Norwich City will not jeopardise his Republic of Ireland career.
New Irish chief Martin O’Neill was at Carrow Road last weekend to watch Hoolahan in the Premier League draw against Swansea, but Hoolahan was an unused substitute.
The Dubliner has made only three top flight starts this season, although O’Neill was impressed by the 31-year-old in his first friendly outing since being appointed along with assistant Roy Keane. O’Neill insists Hoolahan’s club career is a matter for Chris Hughton after reassuring the playmaker he will still consider him if he remains on the periphery of Hughton’s Premier League plans.
“I did go to see Wes but he didn’t get to play and that is the manager’s prerogative. I would never ask a manager beforehand what team he is going to play. That is none of my business,” he said. “The last thing I want to do is run around and tell Wes Hoolahan he should do this or that – should go out on loan or whatever. That is not my business. And Chris would be the first to be on the phone to me say, ‘what are you doing?’
“Wes has not been playing regularly for Norwich but I thought he was excellent against Latvia for us.
“Of course you want players to be playing regularly because they will be easier to drop into your plans. Does it mean I will not pick them? Of course it does not. I would not have a problem picking someone who has not played in three or four weeks. I wouldn’t say it is preferable but I would do it. The last thing I will do, though, is say we need to get this guy out on loan or whatever. The manager won’t appreciate it for a start and second, he won’t listen to me.”
Hoolahan’s last league start came in Norwich’s 1-0 Premier League home win over Crystal Palace recently when he carved out the winner for Gary Hooper with a cute square pass.
“Wes is a super player and of course it has been difficult for him this season because he has not played the amount of games he would like to have played,” said Hughton. “It is about trying to get that balance. Wes’ best position is most definitely a more central position where he can affect the game.
“We played him in that narrow position on the left against Crystal Palace and he performed very well on the day so there is no doubt he has flexibility in his game.”